Foodservice Equipment Reports

MUFES And 2014 Top Dealer Survey

We just finished our seventh biennial Multiunit Foodservice Equipment Symposium, held in Austin, Texas, over the weekend. More than 150 attendees, including 68 chain and multiunit operators, leading manufacturer and dealer suppliers, spent three days together discussing the changing operator environment, technical and process topics. It was the largest MUFES we’ve staged since 2008—a sign the market has recovered—and the second largest in the meeting’s history.

The program—put together by Beth Lorenzini, our editor-in-chief, and Brian Ward, our founding editor—was spectacular. We started Sunday morning with Joe Pawlak, senior v.p. at Technomic Inc., discussing how the Millennial Generation, those age 18-34, use restaurants and foodservice in very different ways than previous generations, and we finished Monday afternoon with Don Fisher, principal at Fisher-Nickel and the Foodservice Technology Center, honing in on the promise and pitfalls of demand control ventilation and energy management systems.

In between, we examined the latest in energy-efficient equipment; the soaring costs of water and sewer; the challenges of disposing of fats, oil and grease; how consumers might view the entire food supply chain in the year 2053; the criteria chains use to evaluate suppliers; how to work with manufacturers to customize smallwares; and other topics.

A great time was had by all. But more important, the meeting provided us and the suppliers attending an up-close-and-personal view into the issues that are top of mind for the folks who equip chains and other multiunit operations, big and small. These insights are critical not only because these operators dominate foodservice in America and increasingly, worldwide. They also drive much of the innovation and development of equipment technologies, smallwares design, the energy management techniques of foodservice facilities and foodservice delivery systems worldwide. All of us always learn so much from these meetings, and the editors share that knowledge with all of you as they plan our editorial topics.

But hanging out with our chain friends also reminds me it’s time for you to start pulling together the information for our annual Top Dealer survey. We’ll get the form to all of you in the next couple of weeks. It also will be on our website at A big part of the rationale for the Top Dealer listing, now in its fourth year, is to communicate the size, scope and service offerings of dealers to chain, large noncommercial and other multiunit foodservice operators, consultants and others in the channel. And that, of course, is why we insist you verify your volume if you want to be part of the full listings.

Keep an eye out for the form, please. We’re looking forward to the interaction with many of you that the process entails. Stay warm!


Robin Ashton


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